Greenhouse gases: rebound in emissions in France after a drop during the covid-19 pandemic

France’s greenhouse gas emissions rebounded in 2021 by 6.4% compared to 2020, due to the recovery of the post-Covid economy, but they have decreased by 9.6% since 2017, according to provisional official figures from Citepa.

France’s greenhouse gas emissions spread upwards in 2021. They rebounded by 6.4% compared to 2020 due to the post-pandemic economic recovery. Nevertheless, these figures indicate that the trend is indeed downward compared to recent years.

According to these figures posted online by Citepa, the body mandated to carry out the French emissions inventory, France emitted 418 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021. This represents a net increase of 6.4% compared to the previous year, but 2020 had been marked by a massive drop in emissions (-9.6% compared to 2019) due to the paralysis of the linked economy. to the Covid-19 epidemic.

“The pre-estimated rebound for 2021 does not return to the pre-crisis level: the downward trend in emissions continues”, notes without further comment the Citepa which will publish its full report on the French inventory in the coming weeks. .


Compared to 2019, the pre-pandemic level, emissions fell by 3.8% and compared to 2017, the start of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term, the drop reached 9.6%.

“Despite the economic recovery of 2021, emissions continue to fall sharply. This is a good result, which shows that the government is committed to changing our ways of producing, moving and consuming,” welcomed the government on Tuesday after the Council of Ministers. “These results are of course only a step and it will be necessary to intensify the effort by doubling the rate of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years”, he added.

As part of the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global warming to significantly below +2°C compared to the pre-industrial era, if possible +1.5°C, France is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990.

France was at -23% in 2021, according to the latest figures from Citepa. But these targets are supposed to be increased as part of the strengthening of European ambitions. If French emissions had increased by an average of 0.7% per year between 2014 and 2017, the trajectory now seems to be downward, but for the defenders of the planet, it is neither enough nor fast enough, as illustrated the excessive development of wind and solar power.

The State already condemned for climate inaction

Moreover, the State has been condemned by the courts for not having done enough in the fight against climate change.

Seized by Grande-Synthe, a town on the northern coast which considers itself threatened by rising sea levels, the Council of State had thus given the government nine months in July 2021 to “take all useful measures” in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for global warming, to a level compatible with France’s objectives.

The Council of State must consider a new file in the coming months.

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